If you’ve decided to go on a yoga retreat, you already know that there will be a few things you need to set in motion to turn that idea into a reality. There are so many places to go, and so many styles of yoga, and so many ways to teach it… how can you know what yoga retreat is the best for your personal needs? Fortunately, there are signs to look for so you can get a feel for a certain locale before you even step through the doors, making it much more likely your time at a yoga retreat will be a wonderful and rejuvenating experience.
The Right Price
Naturally, you’re going to want to make sure the cost is in your price range. When you’re looking for a great yoga retreat, the best price is somewhere in the middle. If the cost is extremely low, chances are you’re going to get what you pay for, and some important features have been dropped in order to bring the price to that level. On the other hand, higher prices may be the result of inflated value — the money you pay does not guarantee the quality of the experience.
When looking at the price of a yoga retreat, see if the cost includes lodging and meals. That will make it much easier to determine how much your vacation will take out of your budget. Also, it makes it easier to allocate spending money in case you want the opportunity to explore the locale outside of the retreat.
The Right Atmosphere
The staff can have a great influence on how a given yoga retreat feels. The best have the feel of a true community, nurturing and caring. Even if the actual population is fairly large, if a given retreat encourages the formation of small groups or promotes a feeling of community, there’s a good chance you’ll form some great and lasting friendships over the duration, built on a common interest in yoga. If a yoga retreat allows time and opportunity for socialization, it’s a good sign.
The Right Size
While the way the retreat is organized can make a difference on how “big” it feels, the amount of people at each session is still of some concern. If there are too many people there, and not enough instructors, you’ll just be one person in a sea of fellow students, and you’ll never feel like you know your teacher. You may want personal time with an instructor, so pick a retreat that limits the amount of guests to a manageable number. What that number is is a matter of personal preference. Call ahead and ask what the maximum number of guests are at the retreats you are considering to make sure their maximum number is a number with which you are comfortable.
The Right Administration
The yoga retreat should have everything ready the moment you arrive. Your room should already be assigned and ready, your schedule of classes available and resolved, and all the little details that you shouldn’t have to worry about on your vacation should already be resolved. This includes any particular needs you might have, like dietary restrictions. A retreat that sends you confirmation and instructional materials before you even arrive has sent you a sign of a great retreat.
The Right Instructors
This is one of the most important signs of a great yoga retreat. After all, your teachers are going to be the face of your experience. They’re going to guide you to the goals that you wish to achieve. Not only should they understand yoga, but they should understand the retreat itself and know it inside and out. If they know things about the history and culture of the place the retreat is located, that’s another great sign.
Do your homework. The names and details of the instructors can generally be easily found on the website and from there it’s easy enough to Google them and see if their credentials match with what you want from a yoga retreat.
The Right Knowledge
Hopefully, your instructors can teach you more than yoga, especially if your retreat is somewhere you’ve never been. Each new place has different food, different people, and different ideas than any other place in the world, and your instructors should be able to facilitate your exploration of these new things. After all, your retreat is more than likely more than stretching your body — it should expand your mind and your spirit, as well.
The Right Amount of Fun
Yes, fun. It is a vacation, after all, and that should never be forgotten. A great yoga retreat will be far more than just yoga. Your retreat should include a few non-yoga activities you love (or would like to learn to love), whether it be cooking classes, hiking, gardening instruction — there are probably several options, many of them unique, per each location. One of the questions you will definitely want answered while looking for the ideal yoga retreat is what extracurricular activities they will offer during your stay.
Your reasons for attending a yoga retreat are as unique as you are, so ultimately you determine what makes a great yoga retreat. But hopefully these few simple signs listed above might help you a little when you have a truly boggling array of choices of choices before you. Your yoga retreat should be an experience you will remember and cherish for a lifetime, whether it’s your first or your fifteenth.
Emily Hunter is a SEM Strategist and Outreach Supervisor at the Marketing Zen Groupworking with the fine folks at Samahita Retreat in Thailand. She loves designing strategies with her team and is excited about spreading the Zen gospel. In her spare time, she cheers for Spirit of Atlanta, Carolina Crown and Phantom Regiment, crafts her own sodas, and crushes tower defense games. Follow her on Twitter at @Emily2Zen